“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…”
Since before the time of Constantine the world in general has defined and identified believers of the “Way” as “Christians” whereas the Lord identifies true believers as His “disciples.” Usually people, who just want to be considered “Christians” (really just converts) don’t set out to learn much! Disciples on the other hand are “teachable” and different entirely, which means that you can “teach” disciples but have to “preach” at Christians (converts!)
Look at the 12 disciples with Jesus – who were willing to learn the Word of God and then to apply it and how He “taught” His disciples but could only “minister” to the masses. There is a difference! He even spoke differently with the disciples in private once the masses had gone. He unfolded mysteries to them, which he wouldn’t to the masses.
In fact if a church grows it’s generally because it’s full of Christians not necessarily disciples! So what is a disciple? The word “disciple” is mentioned 269 times in the four gospels and the book of Acts alone! A disciple is someone who is willing to go through the process called “sanctification.” Which means that they are willing to be “taught” and then “set apart…” for an entire “life-time” in Christ; not just for occasions or events!
The process of sanctification and grace is mentioned here in 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 “For this is the will of God, our sanctification… that each of you should know how (learn) to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honour... for God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. He who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.” Just because you are saved does not mean that your mind is controlled by the Holy Spirit. And to “ ...know how or to learn” as mentioned here is important. Once a person gets saved they still have to learn self control; spirit, soul and body with the Help of the Holy Spirit.
In Luke 9:23 Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” Converts are only concerned with being “blessed” and want to remain in control (where disciples “give up” control before they gain it!) As a result main Churches are then forced to provide entertainment with “show after show” to keep the converts entertained and from going somewhere else! They generally look for the church where they can receive what they “want” (blessings) rather than what they “need” (teaching and discipleship!)
Scripture tells us not to forsake the fellowship of the brethren. Therefore spiritual “seclusion” or “superiority” is really “delusion” and the only thing achieved from this is “exclusion!” No one is “above” fellowship! Therefore being a part of the Body means just that; being a “part or a member” of the BODY and not just of oneself! (Most people don’t know where they belong and as a result are easily confused!)
Whereas “sanctification” helps make the disciple “available” to God and literally “sets them apart.” Taking up our cross “daily” refers to a life style of being “set apart” and not just of nurturing our emotions! For any of us who are serious about being disciples, we must “live our entire lives set apart for God” this is called living the “resurrected life!” This Christ made available for us. You can’t live this life without first coming “through” the cross! Anyone trying to minister without having a real “death and resurrection” experience with Christ, will only speak from their own vain imaginations and not from the Holy Spirit. WE MUST BE DISCIPLES IF WE WANT TO BE USED BY GOD.
Disciples don’t sit at home all day reading their bibles either; copping out of “real life” by claiming to be too spiritual to do anything else! There are times for prayer. That must be set aside. And for some this time “set aside” can be a few years. Paul was set aside for 2 years under house arrest, and spent much of it studying and preaching to those who came to him. But prayer in itself never negates responsibility (or reality!) And most importantly we must LIVE OUT our commitment to Christ “publically” and not just declare it “privately!” (Disciples are not spiritual hermits with double lives! Christ did not die publically so that we could be His disciples privately!)
“Consecration;” mere converts do not like to consecrate but a disciple “must.” In fact for the disciple it is a “24-7” walk with the Holy Spirit. In other words, it never stops; there is no day off from being a disciple! Most folks miss it completely because they focus so much on “getting into” the Holy Spirit when we should already be in Him and should never have left Him!!! He should be with us all the time. We don’t have to “come to” or “get into” God when we already have Him! Only religion convinces people that they constantly have to “get to God.” In fact they are always “striving to come to God” instead of “resting in God!” As disciples we are filled with God and must live a life that reveals that fact. For those who limit themselves so much in this way, they must ask themselves a real question, “do I really have the Holy Spirit and does He really have me?”
On the other hand there are those who have the anointing but dangerously underestimate the Holy Spirit. The story of the ten virgins refers to this well; five of whom failed to keep their lamps stocked with oil. What a sober warning for any of us. The Bible foretells a great “falling away” and some predict that as much as 50% of all born again even ‘spirit filled’ believers will be caught amongst them and will ultimately “miss” the Lord’s return. To this I can only add that before we met, my wife and I were sports people in our youth. We both trained seriously for various events and at times competed on national and international levels. This taught us both a valuable lesson firsthand; “it’s not how one starts that matters most, but how one finishes!”
Missing the grace of God like that – provokes holy fear in the heart. There is no room to be filled once then imagine “I’m alright Jack!” In fact scripture makes it quite clear that “even” the elect will be deceived and the love of many will wax cold; therefore being “filled” on occasion is not quite as important as “staying filled daily!” And the purpose of the anointing (oil) is so that we can be “spilled” regularly for the sake of others, just like the alabaster jar was broken to minister to Jesus! Even He needed the oil. But in order to be “spilled” regularly for others, we have to be “filled” regularly and for this we must stay close with the One who can replenish us!
The life of a believer is not just for “themselves.” Self-gratification is the way of the world. Christ “gave” Himself on the cross. Literally “spilled” Himself out like a love offering for us. Now His way must also be our way. And for those who think that we can’t lose our anointing; just refer to Sampson whose “endowment” lifted and left him. “Old Testament!” some will say. Yes! but refer to the virgins in the New. There is a need to be spilled and a need to be filled. And only with the Holy Spirit can we achieve this without falling into deception and missing our Lord altogether.
It must be understood then that “discipleship” is not an automatic thing that happens. In fact it is a result of a deep “relationship!” And for those who want to find out what a person “filled” with the Holy Spirit can get up to, then just read the bible; raising the dead is about the most extreme thing that can happen…! However the power of the Spirit and the Fruits of the Spirit (life style) are two different things. Still however the fruits can be valuable weapons in our arsenal against our adversary. Why? Because in Galatians 5:23 it says of the fruits that “against such there is no law” which means when we operate in such a manner... by allowing the fruits of the Spirit to operate through us, then we effectively put a great “cork-stop” in the mouth of our accuser.
Our life style reveals EVERYTHING, to our enemy and to others. In fact most of the problems we have ever faced have been the result of a lack of lifestyle or character, (whether our own or others!) Consider the fact that “deliverance” is meant for the Church alone and not for the world. Why? because only true believers (disciples) can “sustain” that deliverance and the infilling of the Holy Spirit.
Finally disciples are accountable – God disciplines (disciples) those He loves and He uses others to do it. We must ask ourselves a question regularly, “Who is God using to disciple me today? To bring correction when I need it most?” When you were a child it wasn’t the next door neighbour who disciplined you, it was your own family. The Body of Christ then is also a family and also has divine authority! We don’t have to skip from church to church or family to family to avoid discipline. If we did this when we were a child, we would be very weird by now! Equally we must not get weird in the Kingdom of God. We must allow true correction to be part of our lives. Without it there is only deception. But we can be certain that God only disciplines with “love and conviction” not with “anger, resentment or condemnation.” (That’s why it’s vital to be around folks who are filled with the Spirit and ordained by this loving God and not just by themselves!) God’s love and blessings involve discipline; and the true disciple accepts this fact with joy!
Father thank You for Your love that saved me in Calvary but also saves me daily from myself! I walk in deliverance, health and resurrection life because of what You did through Christ. Thank You for Your love and mercy. Thank You for the fruits; that if I live by them daily, there can be no accusation against me! Amen.
CONFESSION OF THE DAY
Today I confess that I am a true disciple. I am not a coward. I accept discipline as part of the life of a disciple. I am meant to be buffeted and changed; even made holy as He is Holy. I affirm that of my own merits I am nothing. But in “Him” I am more than a conqueror. Hallelujah!
THANK YOU FOR HELPING TO MAKE THIS MINISTRY POSSIBLE!
WE LOVE YOU…!
Motto: ‘God Chooses, then the Spirit Tests, but You Must Respond!’
Copyright 2010 © Alan Pateman Ministries